When our twins were younger, locking them into one app with Guided Access was a great way to keep them from messing things up on our iPhones. However, now that they're older, they're less inclined to stay in one app for very long. And since "screen time" is really "leave-us-alone time" (15 minutes max, I swear!), getting them in and out of apps repeatedly is a headache.
One solution would be for Apple to introduce the concept of user accounts to iOS. I won't go into that other than to say that I understand why, at least for now, user accounts aren't coming to iOS any time soon.
So I have a modest proposal for Apple: extend Guided Access to encompass not just one app at a time, but an entire screen of apps. This way, I could move all the kids' apps to one screen, walling it off from the others.
This has broader application than just families, too: for example, schools and businesses that allow public access to their iOS devices. So far as I know, their only option at the moment is to use Guided Access to lock the public into one app at a time.
So why not allow the owner of the iOS device to wall off one screen of apps? I don't think this solution would be very difficult from a technical perspective, but I can imagine a lot fewer parents wailing about deleted emails and photos.
A few notes:
- Yes, I'm aware the latest versions of Android offer user accounts, but for now, we're still an iOS household.
- I know others have come up with some interesting solutions as well, but what I like about my idea is that it simply builds off an existing feature: Guided Access.
- It's possible Apple's motives have to do with their desire to sell everyone in your home their own iOS device, but I'm skeptical that's the case. On the other hand, I did just buy the boys their own iPod Touch!
So, what do you think of this idea? Tell me on Twitter.